Imagine the following scenario:
You are driving through an intersection and everything goes black. When you finally regain consciousness, you are dazed and confused; your car is totaled; you have sustained a number of serious injuries, and medics are attending to you. It turns out that you were involved in a t-bone accident.
Shortly after the accident, you receive a call from the other driver’s insurance company. Among several requests, the adjuster asks you to provide a recorded statement that explains your version of the events.
Should you agree to their request? What is the purpose? Are you required by law to give a recorded statement?
Ultimately, every personal injury case, no matter the size or type, comes down to accident claim evidence, and one of the biggest pieces of evidence that can work in your favor or be used against you is the recorded statement.
And for accident victims that experience any level of trauma, they may become emotional in the retelling of the incident, or worse yet, they may misremember or have gaps in their memory.
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Because confusion can have a lasting effect on an accident claim, victims should understand their rights with regard to recorded statements and the overall impact they can have on a personal injury case.
Should You Give the Insurance Company a Recorded Statement?
As we often tell injured Hoosiers, adjusters are trained to settle claims for as little as possible in an attempt to save the insurance company money. The claims adjuster can use many different tactics to make this happen, and one such way is by asking you for a recorded statement.
Depending on the details of your accident, you may be asked to provide answers to any number of questions, such as:
- Can you explain to me what happened?
- Did you see the other driver?
- Were you on your phone?
- Was it light outside?
- Do you remember how fast you were driving?
- Were you wearing a seatbelt?
- Were you injured?
- Have you ever been injured in the past?
No matter how innocent the questions may seem, the answers you provide have the potential to be used as evidence against you and your case.
With that in mind, should you agree to provide a recorded statement following the accident? The quick answer is “no.” At least, not until you have spoken to an experienced Indianapolis personal injury attorney.
In fact, Indiana law does not require that you speak with a claims adjuster or give a recorded statement until you have first consulted with an attorney.
Insurance Companies Will Be in a Hurry!
It is important to remember that requests for recorded statements are often made early in the claims process–sometimes on the same day of the accident!
Quick fact-gathering attempts by insurance companies are intentional: they hope to obtain a statement before you have consulted with an attorney or have a full understanding of your injuries.
We have witnessed a number of accident victims provide recorded statements while truly believing they were uninjured. This sometimes happens due to the masking effects of adrenaline or the delayed/hidden symptoms of particular injuries such as a concussion or traumatic brain injury.
For victims who experience delayed symptoms, yet later go to the doctor, the insurance company will already have a statement claiming that they were uninjured. In these instances, if they do not have a lawyer on their side, any future attempt to be fairly compensated for their injuries may prove tricky.
With that in mind, Boulton Law Group recommends that accident victims politely decline to provide the insurance company with a recorded statement until they have first consulted with an experienced personal injury attorney.
After reviewing your case, your attorney may eventually decide that it is ok to provide the insurance company with a recorded statement, but only after they have prepped you and are in attendance while you answer the questions.
Speaking With Insurance Claims Adjusters After an Accident
As most people already know, every insurance company employs teams of highly trained adjusters and attorneys to carefully review first and third-party accident claims. It is the claims adjuster that will attempt to contact you by phone (or letter) shortly after your accident to begin gathering details.
Because our law firm only represents the interests of accident victims, some might expect us to suggest not answering their questions because insurance adjusters are mean or cold people who do not care about you as a human being. That notion would be silly and untrue.
In reality, the insurance adjuster you speak with might very well be a nice person, however, it is important to always remember they have a job to do: settle accident and injury claims for the lowest amount possible. One of the ways they make this happen is by asking questions and constructing a detailed version of events that is designed to work in their favor.
So while your initial conversation and interactions with a claims adjuster may be civil, their obligation is to their employer, and this means the value of your injury claim is not their first priority.
Are You Searching for Personal Injury Claim Advice?
Attorney Matt Boulton has more than 20 years’ experience dealing with claims adjusters and navigating tactics such as requests for recorded statements. His knowledge of Indiana’s personal injury claims process has proven valuable for injured Hoosiers throughout the state.
Whether or not you have already spoken to a claims adjuster, or given a recorded statement, we recommend you contact Matt for a free legal consultation. The advice you receive may prevent you from causing future damage to your case and decreasing its overall value.
Boulton Law Group offers every injured Hoosier a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means that you will never pay for your initial consultation, and the firm does not receive a penny for its services until we win your case. To speak with Matt, call 317-350-2680.
If you prefer to write to us, you may use our confidential contact form. Matt personally reviews all web contacts received at our firm.
We look forward to hearing your story and learning how we might be able to help you!